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Thursday, August 04, 2005

TEAM ROBERTS: Now that John Roberts is on record as believing precedent is important in "promoting the stability of the legal system," it’s time for the Roberts confirmation team to stop setting the wrong kinds of precedents for future Supreme Court nomination hearings. So far, team Roberts is allowing the game to be played on the left’s playing field — which bodes badly for Roberts as well as future conservative nominees.

DOCUMENTS: By releasing 70,000 pages of documents (most of which were already in the public domain), the White House must now spend time explaining why the release of more documents would be inappropriate. Why fight an unnecessary issue — especially on the ground of your opponents?

FEDERALIST SOCIETY: It’s not unreasonable to believe Roberts doesn’t remember whether he was actually a paid member, but why raise this point in a manner that sounds like an apology? Memo to GOP senators: If the Democrats want to bring this organization into the battle, get busy taking the fight to their doorstep. The Founders were federalists who celebrated the diversity of state contributions to the larger union; celebrating that legacy requires no apology from contemporary conservatives. Make the Democrats explain why they see every issue, every problem, every challenge as an occasion for nationalization.

2000 RECOUNT: Roberts says he spent "only" or "little more than" a week helping the GOP Florida recount effort. Suppose he had spent two or three weeks there — what’s with the implied need to minimize? Bush and Gore both had plenty of attorneys on hand.

What is it with so many conservatives, that when they gain power they go squeamish about exercising it to advance conservative principles sans apology? Democratic senators have no doubts that their job is to represent the people who sent them to Washington. Republican senators seem to think their job is to compromise with Democrats. I’m not saying it’s never appropriate to split the difference when a political impasse is reached. Every now and then it would be nice to see conservative senators allow an impasse to come into view before the negotiations begin.

Barring some unexpected bombshell, Roberts almost certainly will be approved by the Senate. It’s time for his team to think less abut making symbolic gestures to win the votes of preening narcissists like Joe Biden, and to think more about making the strongest possible case in the court of public opinion for judicial restraint as an idea whose time has come. At least stop the apologies. It’s those who oppose Roberts who owe the American people an explanation.